Geisinger CEO Talks About Why Healthcare Business Intelligence Is Critical to Their Success
Sometimes we see published articles from leading healthcare business intelligence and analytics advocates or healthcare systems that are so good that we love to learn from them too. This week, Healthcare IT News published an article from the CEO of Geisinger Health System, Glen Steele Jr, MD that was simply terrific. His comments encompassed so much of our experience in the area of excellence (or the lack of excellence) in healthcare analytics that we wanted to share the article with you. Dr. Steele makes four comments that were particularly insightful based on our experience.
- He observes that “there’s almost no outcome that can’t be improved.” This is one of the most energizing elements of the work we do with health systems. They all have unique challenges and opportunities, and it’s great to see them identify a problem, even when there is sometimes initial skepticism, and then always find a way to improve it using data
- He attributes their success in their pioneering population health programs to “insightful use of data to drive behavior change.” What we find interesting is the recent upsurge in many health systems asking us about population health analytics. It feels like a growing number of health systems are understanding the criticality of analytics as a foundation for their population health initiatives. Glen also mentions that they have been doing this for 15 years, which also reflects our experience that the use of analytics is not just a “software solution,” but a process.
- When asked how the healthcare industry is doing in general with healthcare analytics and business intelligence, he says that they are “probably about to enter the 19th century,” and when asked to explain, he comments about how the “legitimate regulatory concerns have always taken precedence over true innovation in data analytics.” We see this over and over again as well. Regulatory metrics are here to stay and only growing. Every health system has to determine a strategy of how to collect, assess, report, and use these metrics. But every so often, what we see is that the amount of energy used in the entire regulatory metrics exercise consumes most of the analytics energy for the system, leaving far too little resources and efforts focused on actually diagnosing the root cause and then taking the appropriate actions to improve outcomes. Our approach isn’t to minimize the use of regulatory metrics, but make it much simpler to address the regulatory metrics and thus free up analytic and clinical resources to spend much more time on addressing the root cause and needed improvement areas. It is particularly gratifying to see health systems be able to make that shift and spend much more time on innovation and outcome improvement.
- Finally, when asked about the most important strategic aim and outcome of their analytics program, he indicated that out of the many potential benefits for analytics, the most important strategic aim was “innovation and quality,” with the most important desired outcome being “to change behavior.” We see many benefits of healthcare analytics and data warehousing. Most often, these start with important foundational elements like having a single source of truth or enabling a more efficient and scalable reporting process or improving the ability to track and report key strategic goals or helping to make better decisions by improving the quality of the data that everyone can trust. These are all important, noteworthy, and foundational goals. But once you have that foundation in place, the larger and more strategic opportunity is to improve the fundamental delivery of care through data-driven, systematic process transformation. For those of you that know us, you will recognize that this is our passion and the core of what motivates us.